After asking you to vote for your leading drivers from the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship season, the time has come to start the countdown to the driver you voted the top star of 2008.

Over the next ten weekdays, we will be revealing the top ten in reverse order, with the winner being revealed on Friday, 28 November.

More than 45,000 votes were cast in the F1 poll, with each driver's average score out of ten then being calculated to decide the winner.

F1 Driver of the Year - Fifth place:

Name: Robert Kubica Team: BMW Sauber Car: BMW Sauber F1.08 Wins: 1 Podiums: 7 Pole positions: 1 Fastest laps: 0 Championship points: 75 Championship position: 4th

If it was a surprise that Robert Kubica began the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship campaign as an unexpected and unlikely title candidate, it was perhaps even more so that seven races in he was leading the standings - and the fact that he ultimately slipped back to fourth position at the close was entirely a reflection of the drop-off in the competitiveness of his car rather than anything to do with his driving.

Whilst eventual champion Lewis Hamilton and runner-up Felipe Massa - both of whom Kubica comfortably the measure for much of the year - and their teams made costly mistakes left, right and centre, Kubica and BMW Sauber rarely made any, the Pole's only significant error coming when he spun third place away in the torrential downpour of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Given the conditions and his clean sheet for the remainder of the season, though, that was more than excusable.

If there was any driver on the grid that managed to squeeze 110 per cent out of his car week-in, week-out, it was the one behind the wheel of the #4 entry, and that he thoroughly overshadowed Nick Heidfeld - a man dubbed 'Quick Nick' - in the sister F1.08 for the majority of the campaign was testament to just how well he performed.

Kubica sensationally almost stole pole position from under the nose of Hamilton in the season curtain-raiser Down Under in Melbourne, and though that grand prix would ultimately end in disappointment following contact with Williams' Kazuki Nakajima, the 23-year-old was back with a bang for round two in Malaysia, storming to the runner-up spot and just one race later still registering BMW's maiden pole position in the top flight in its own right in Bahrain, adding another podium position to his spoils the following day.

Solid performances in Spain and Turkey were the precursor to a brilliant second place in Monaco - the glittering jewel in F1's crown - as he split Hamilton and Massa at the chequered flag, and then, only a fortnight later, the crowning glory of his own season, with an inspired if slightly fortuitous victory, again a first for BMW, in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal after Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen collided in the pit-lane. The first of his countrymen ever to compete at the pinnacle of international motorsport, it was a truly momentous breakthrough achievement, and one that propelled him to the top of the drivers' table.

Though he would keep himself in the fight by dint of a string of stand-out showings from thereon in, however, there would be no further triumphs for the man from Krak?w, and indeed rostrums only at Valencia, Monza and Fuji, on each occasion clearly the result of a driver transcending the abilities of the equipment beneath him.

Elsewhere there were thinner pickings, and it was particularly cruel that having battled so hard for so long to keep in touch, Kubica lost third place in the final reckoning to Raikkonen, being overtaken by a driver who had rarely shone season-long - a clear sign that in the current age of F1, you are only ever as good as the machinery at your disposal.

As BMW fell evermore away from Ferrari and McLaren's pace over the second half of the campaign - even slipping behind Renault in the last few races - Kubica's frustration became palpable, as he was increasingly willing to criticise the team in public and began to suggest that the squad's efforts to help Heidfeld overcome his qualifying malaise had been at the expense of his own title ambitions. The way he un-lapped himself from Hamilton on the penultimate tour of the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos - in so doing very nearly losing the Briton the championship - was petulant indeed.

Whether BMW's focus on Heidfeld ultimately did cost the former World Series by Renault Champion the trophy is doubtful, but the Munich and Hinwil-based concern knows it must maintain the pace year-long in 2009 if the man with whom Dr Mario Theissen admitted 'the working relationship was not always easy' in 2008 is to be rather more placated second time around.

Tomorrow: Who did you vote fourth in the Driver of the Year poll?